Sunday April 26, 2015
Feature of the Week

[Ludaversal] Grappling in the Ludaverse.

Ludacris Review

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Video: @RazFresco @BishopNehru - "Equinox" (@MacMediaPromo @guyoak510)

Video: Raz Fresco f/ Bishop Nehru - "Equinox"

Matt: After teaming up with Raekwon in the middle of flu season on the Complex Premiered “Influenza”, Raz Fresco is back with a new visual, “Equinox,” featuring Bishop Nehru.

Audio: @bboytechreport Presents - BREAM Vol​.​1 (Free Beat Tape) @IStillLoveHER

Audio: Bboytechreport Presents - BREAM Vol​.​1 (Free Beat Tape)

Wanja: The first in a series of all instrumental hip-hop compilations/ beat tapes from, “Beats Rule Everything Around Me” – BREAM – is a compilation of beats from a global assortment of dope producers. Oh, and it’s free of charge.

Video: J3 - "Wanna Do" (@J3OnaTrack513 @MsRiverCity)

Video: J3 - "Wanna Do"

Ms. RC: Wild 9 Productions Presents J3's "Wanna Do." Watch the video below.

Audio: Mark Ski - "Play-Dioh Beat Compound" (Beat Tape) @J57 @funkbyfunk

Audio: Mark Ski - "Play-Dioh Beat Compound" (Beat Tape)

J57: Mark Ski's legendary "FunkByFunk" show is on every Monday night on 107.8fm in the UK. After hearing his production while he was in NYC recently, I persuaded him to step back from the radio show and let me over see a beat tape consisting of all his unreleased beats -- and luckily he did!

Video: Mr. Ekow f/ Ebonie G - "Star Nav"

Video: Mr. Ekow f/ Ebonie G - "Star Nav"

Ekow: After leaving home, voyaging across uncharted seas and wading through hostile jungles, Mr Ekow is back to pen a new adventure. The Cosmic Journey picks up right where The Magnificent Journey ends, following the story of a band of robots in search of their creator. This time round, they’re travelling through space - who knows what they will find…

Video: 221 - "Like Suh" (@McashCT @itsOBeezy @CaptainMitt)

Video: 221 - "Like Suh"

Q.B.: After dropping the audio of their track “Like Suh”, we premiere the 221 team's visual treatment to match the sexy, caribbean single. With their 221 Presents: M. Cash – Since Day project slated to be released this Spring, 221 members Mitt, Beez and frontman M.Ca$h are building a strong buzz with this island vibe.

The (W)rap Up - Week of April 14, 2015

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Z-Ro's "Melting The Crown" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[Melting the Crown] Z-Ro :: Melting the Crown
One Deep Entertainment/J. Prince Entertainment

Author: Matt Jost

"To call Joseph Wayne McVey's life eventful would be an understatement. Maybe that is why his music is so resistant to change. Fans are likely to disagree and point to ups and downs in his biography and his catalog, but judging from a critical distance Z-Ro has pretty much been making the same kind of music throughout his career, with only perhaps a noticeable shift in his vocal performance from Pac and Bone disciple to becoming more and more comfortable with his soulman side. And comfortable he is, lacing all tracks on his latest with his well-tempered bass baritone. His singing is more straightforward and mature than the Auto-Tuned warblings of his younger colleagues, creating a bluesy but also masculine contrast to the turnt up or tuned out vocal colorations favored by today's generation. No matter the topic of the song, Z-Ro instinctively homes in on some type of harmony, usually choosing singing as the first option to express himself. The melodical quality of Z-Ro's music is a major selling point, and rightfully so, even if the rap fan regrets that the straight up bars take a backseat. The roles of rapping and singing used to be clearly allocated and it would be pointless to blame a later entry into the game like Z-Ro for blurring the lines, still a questionable effort like "Don't Stop Now," a song about baby mama drama that has turned particularly ugly, further chips away at the inherent nobility of soul and rhythm and blues. It would be no matter if it was an amateur showcase, but the performance is actually good (helped by a down-home Beanz N Kornbread beat). If you actually dig this song, it should be a very guilty pleasure. The minimal sentence Z-Ro should get for it should be listening to Marvin Gaye's "Here, My Dear" album. Rap can do those type of songs, Z-Ro the rapper has proven he can do those type of songs, previously injecting "I Hate U," "Thug Nigga" or "Lonely" with sincere bitterness. But "Don't Stop Now" takes his antisocial and depressive predispositions to all-time lows and for all the wrong reasons drags the art of singing into it."

Clear Soul Forces :: Gold PP7s :: Fat Beats 
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[Gold PP7s] Hip Hop in 2015 is full of individuals. I'm not announcing the demise of the rap group, but there certainly feels like a gap in the market that's been left by legendary crews like the Wu-Tang Clan and Boot Camp Clik. While Slaughterhouse are more than capable of holding down Hip Hop alone with their 1st Dan level of rapping - it's still quite an intense experience that never really maintains a unique identity. It also shows that talented individuals coming together can actually hurt careers (did anyone care that Joell Ortiz dropped an album last year?). Enter Clear Soul Forces, a group hailing from Detroit which automatically means they are worth checking for, considering the constant stream of excellent music emerging from the city. Where Wu-Tang Clan used badly dubbed martial arts films to create their own world, Clear Soul Forces draw from retro video games, sci-fi, wrestling and various other fantastical favorites any young man can associate with. There's no emphasis on chiptune (or MIDI) however, but there is a pleasant dash of it subtly scattered throughout the album; the overall sound however is more reminiscent of J Dilla and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Production comes courtesy of one of the emcees - Ilajide, and while some tracks are restricted by the mic-passing nature of the crew, there are some guaranteed neck slammers here. The collaboration with Kooley High ("Freq Freq") is a highlight, showcasing the technical side of each emcees' flow while also maintaining the playful tomfoolery that comes with a bunch of friends rapping for fun. Songs like "Continue?" may not engage listeners who didn't grow up on The Legend of Zelda or Street Fighter series of games, but there will be a sly reference to an obscure wrestler or martial art style that is sure to raise a smile. The blink-and-you-miss-it song with a hook is aptly titled "Ninja Rap", and shows the guys can create a song with a theme, even if it is combat techniques and descriptions of weaponry. "

Jellyfish Brigade :: Diving Lessons :: Polka Dot Mayhem 
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Diving Lessons]"On the periphery of notability, beyond the boundaries of exhaustive encyclopedias that exhaust your patience by considering reality TV stars more important than real artists, there exist groups like Jellyfish Brigade. If you like living your life way past the margins of the page, you live for groups like the one formed by Lucas Dix (vocals) and Jeffrey Acciaoli. It doesn't matter whether your chosen genre is rap, rock, folk, metal, jazz, blues or country - life is richer than the mainstream artists with major label support. The pleasure and the pitfall of going over the edge is that you may not know how to interpret what you find. You could time travel "Doctor Who" style to the past and show someone from the height of Egyptian civilization an iPad - and on that iPad you could load famous paintings from Rembrandt and Picasso - and despite the obvious beauty of the images the complete bewilderment with the technology would get in the way. Even if you move beyond the device and produce a physical print of something like The Persistence of Memory, there's little way to resolve the meaning behind it unless you have the context in which it was produced to draw from. Let me offer you a little context on Jellyfish Brigade so you can better grasp what they're trying to say. Both men are Portland residents, and were friends before they were a group, but they were doing completely different things. Lucas was hip-hop and ya don't stop, Jeffrey was edgy and electronic, but one thing creative artists have in common is the impulse to experiment. Lucas took some of Jeffrey's beats, tried flowing to them, shared the results with his homey (who was sleeping on his couch at the time) and it clicked. The name Jellyfish Brigade seems odd, like it was chosen from a random word generator, and for all I know it was."

Poe Pro :: The Sedated Hype Man :: POE PROductions 
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[The Sedated Hype Man]"At RapReviews we've watched Poe Pro evolve over the last 5-6 years. On his earlier work he may not have been flattered to be described as "bland" and "cliche," but as a fair-minded man he took it constructively and sought to improve his overall game. The growth was evident on his most recent release, and although he still couldn't be thought of as an upper echelon emcee, he worked hard enough to earn praise like "there's a humor to Pro's work that manifests itself in subtle ways." Not everybody comes into the rap music world as white hot as Nas did on "Live at the Barbeque," and no matter what else you say about the Poetic Prophetic, I respect the fact he kept working and improving. That journey may now be over. On the intro to "The Sedated Hype Man," Pro vows that he's ready to hang up his Nikes like Michael Jordan, retiring as a soloist (though leaving open the possibility of collaboration) after four albums. There's that subtle humor that I once wrote about - the obvious absurdity of something being lower than absolute zero - but only appreciated if you understand the science or laugh at things like calculus humor. There's no denying that Poe Pro is an intelligent guy, and one who is concerned about the future of hip-hop, pining as he does for "the vibe from the Tribe/the days when Big and Tupac was still alive/wakin up for school, 7 AM yawning/to Ed Lover and Dr. Dre every single morning" on the song "Memories Live On" (also featuring Buck 50 and Notlaw). There's no doubt that "sedated" also describes his rap style pretty well. Pro has always been and still is a very calm and measured lyricist in terms of his vocal tone and delivery. I'm not saying he needs a Ghostface Killah level of emotion to his flow, but he can unintentionally soothe you to sleep with his hypnotizingly calm style. Poe Pro almost begged us for brutal honesty in his attached letter (with a surprising attached gift), but I find myself hard pressed to be especially harsh about his overall effort. I respect his request though so I'll give it a shot - starting with the fact that at 58 minutes this album is just a little too long (especially given his aforementioned NyQuil rap style). "

Red Pill :: Look What This World Did To Us :: Mello Music Group 
as reviewed by Zach 'Goose' Gase

[Look What This World Did To Us]"Red Pill quickly became one of my favorite up-and-coming rappers in late 2012 when I heard his song "Waiting On The Train." His album with fellow Detroit-area beatsmith Hir-O, "The Kick" was one of 2013's more underrated records, which helped link him up with Mello Music and Apollo Brown-led group Ugly Heroes. Nearly two years later, and Red Pill is back with his debut solo album on Mello Music Group titled "Look What This World Did To Us." And like "The Kick," "Look What This World Did To Us" is very focused and personal. On "Look What This World Did To Us," Red Pill is a jaded 20-something, bored with a life that has brought more disappointment than excitement. On the opener "Meh," Pill is wholly unimpressed with his life, and is simply going through the motions. Look What This World Did To Us" doesn't pack a lot of energy or lyrical dexterity, but Red Pill's writing and storytelling is very understated. His attention to detail on tracks like "That's Okay" is more appreciated in repeated listens, as he raps about a waitress messing up his order. His writing is never weighed down by wordiness, complex cadences or unneeded details. His simplistic approach is brilliantly executed on the highlight, "Windows." He raps about the monotonous life of working in a windowless factory, and the humiliation of having to borrow money from his younger brother. The production on "Look What This World Did To Us" is handled by L'Orange, Hir-O, KuroiOto, Duke Westlake, Castle and Red Pill himself. The beats on the record are appropriately bluesy, sparse and slow paced. Occasionally the album gets a little too tedious, particularly "Blus" and "Drown," but for the most part its pacing is rarely a problem during the 40-minute record. Much of this record is very sad, which makes the perfectly executed "Rap Game Cranky" and "Leonard Letdown" very important for the album. With extremely heavy, personal songs like the title track and the "Overcast"-era-Atmosphere-sounding "Rum and Coke" taking up most of the album, comedic relief is much needed."

various artists :: Uni-Fi Records Mixtape Vol. 1 :: Uni-Fi Records 
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Mixtape Vol. 1]"It took a minute for me to realize why the names Dana Coppafeel and Uni-Fi Records felt familiar, but when you've been writing about rap for 25 years almost everything feels familiar to a certain degree. Finally I gave in and Google searched our own archive, and came across Patrick Taylor's review of KingHellBastard from 2010. Different artist, but the label is the same, and Coppafeel was one of the featured guest emcees. So first and foremost, thank you to Milwaukee's Uni-Fi Records. It's good to be on your mailing list especially for a mixtape, which so few people release a physical copy of these days, but the photo in our review is the actual CD I got in the mail. Secondly it seems that Coppafeel has gotten a bit of an upgrade from "guest artist." It's not strictly his album, it's a mixtape after all, but the album's description says that it's "hosted by Dana Coppafeel and SPEAK Easy." That lets you know these are the two artists that the Brew City imprint is currently pushing to the forefront. Speaking (ha) of guest stars, Uni-Fi has aggregated respect to the degree that they are able to pull some pretty big names for cameos on the mixtape. I was doing my casual first listen just to get an overview of the album and suddenly the voice of Action Bronson jumped out at me. I hit pause, then restarted the song, and sure enough "Mr. Wonderful" himself is rapping on the "Hot Shots (Remix)." Bronson's cameo here is classic AB: "She throw the drug in her butt/she hasn't sh#% for days/she chill with dykes from state right where the Mystic play/You got a nice white d#%k, that's what the sister say (thank you)." He's not the only cameo on the song, as Houston rapper (and MTV reality star) Riff Raff drops a verse. Remixes are a frequent feature of the mixtape in their own right. "This Is Us (Remix)" features a Keyzo Jasper and Ju Prime Trap track that sounds more Dirty South than Cream City, complete with the rising synths and the cocked guns. The Montana Macks laced "Juke Off (Remix)" features Chris Crack and Dana Coppafeel, and also has an element of Southern mellowness. The most unique remix has to be "One of These Kids." The original version was a minimalistic production that was heavy on percussion, while the new version is much more melodic and electronic, with a guest verse by Prophetic."
Editorial: Rewind - Twenty Important Rap Videos From 1993 (Part Two)

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Biggie courtesy Wikimedia Commons]1993 was a pretty big year for Biggie. His daughter T'yanna was born in '93, and his first official single under the name The Notorious B.I.G. came out that year - the remix of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love." 1993 was a pretty big year for hip-hop too.

As you're reading this article please know that there are WAY more than 20 songs from 1993 worth featuring, but I had to stop somewhere. Check out part one HERE. Any list like this is subjective of course, but as someone who lived through this era (and had cable for the first time as a college student) these are the videos that still stand out as memorable to me to the present day.

11.) The Beatnuts - "Reign of the Tec"

12.) US3 - "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)"

13.) Snoop Doggy Dogg - "What's My Name?"

14.) De La Soul - "Breakadawn"

15.) The Notorious B.I.G. - "Party and Bulls#%!"

16.) Lords of the Underground - "Chief Rocka"

17.) A Tribe Called Quest - "Award Tour"

18.) Eazy-E - "Real Muthaph#%!kin G's"

19.) Queen Latifah - "Just Another Day"

20.) Guru f/ Donald Byrd - "Loungin'"

Editorial: Rewind - Twenty Important Rap Videos From 1993 (Part One)

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Biggie courtesy Wikimedia Commons]1993 was the first time the World Trade Center was bombed. If you were born after 2001 and thought the Biggie Smalls line "Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade" was insensitive, it helps to know that it's a time dated reference referring to the first attack and not to September 11th, 2001.

Coincidentally 1993 was a pretty big year for Biggie. His daughter T'yanna was born in '93, and his first official single under the name The Notorious B.I.G. came out that year - the remix of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love." He scored his first big hit as a soloist later that year with the single "Party and Bulls#%!" off the "Who's the Man?" soundtrack. In the course of twelve months Biggie became so well established that his 1994 debut album was going to be HUGE.

As you're reading this article please know that there are WAY more than 20 songs from 1993 worth featuring, but I had to stop somewhere. Check out part two HERE. In the meantime let's kick things off with the song that defines the year through referencing it by name.

1.) Souls of Mischief - "93 'Til Infinity"

2.) A Tribe Called Quest - "Electric Relaxation"

3.) OutKast - "Player's Ball"

4.) 2Pac - "I Get Around"

5.) Black Moon - "How Many MC's..."

6.) KRS-One - "Sound of Da Police"

7.) Wu-Tang Clan - "Method Man"

8.) Del Tha Funkee Homosapien - "Catch a Bad One"

9.) Run-D.M.C. - "Down With The King"

10.) Naughty By Nature - "Hip Hop Hooray"

The Hip-Hop Shop #322 - Breaking Bad When You Over Do It

It's time for another edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #322 is called Breaking Bad When You Over Do It! Enjoy new tracks by Goldini Bagwell, Mpulse, Oddisee and Noah Vinson among others! Follow us @RapReviews so you never miss a new podsafe free show.

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* Goldini Bagwell - Over Do
* Julian Rothchild - Sac Town Royalty
* Oddisee - Belong to the World
* Kidd Adamz - I Can Tell
* Willy J Peso f/ CloudGang ACE - OMW
* Mpulse - Breaking Bad
* Noah Vinson - BarXzam

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Welcome to for the week of April 21st, 2015!! Please like us on Facebook and shop Amazon through RapReviews so we can bring you new material every week. This week we have TWELVE new items for you to enjoy: an editorial on Twenty Important Rap Videos From 1993 (Part One) that's delivered in two installments, Huey Newton's "#420EP," Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #322, L'indecis' "Celeste," Ludacris' "Ludaversal" (our featured review), Nessly's "Give Us, Lord, Our Daily Bread 2," Papa Dios' "Eff Yoo," Rapper Big Pooh's "Words Paint Pictures," Carmen Rodgers' "Stargazer," Scotopic's "Scotopic" and Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for Apr. 14, 2015!

Be sure to check the RapReviews newsfeed for the latest news and updates. Subscribe to the newsfeed via your browser for articles like Audio: Goldini Bagwell - "Over Do". also recommends the latest Over the Top Radio w/ Dave Prazak from the AngryMarks Podcast Network. We appreciate your support and welcome any feedback you have. Thanks for visiting!!

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